After spending the night lying down and logging your beauty rest, there’s no better way to wake your body up than that biiiiig stretch while you’re lying in bed. You don’t have to stop there, though—taking a few minutes to move through some other strategic poses in the morning can give you a boost of energy first thing (without the mid-morning coffee crash).
“Stretching creates mobility in the joints and causes the muscles to expand and contract more than they’re used to, which forces more blood to flow through the body,” says Patrick Mason, a yoga instructor at TruFusion. “More movement happening in the body relates to more liveliness in the mind!”
Try five of his favorite stretches for getting energized—do them in a sequence, or just pick the one that feels best for you when you’re short on time.
- Begin on your hands and knees and bring yourself to table pose, with your hips directly over your knees and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists stacked.
- As you exhale, gently move into cat pose by rounding your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your chin toward your chest, and engaging your abs.
- On an inhale, arch your back, let your belly release and lift your head and tailbone towards the sky.
- Continue this flow, moving with your breath. Repeat eight to 10 times.
2. Standing Backbend
- Stand with feet hip width apart and place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointed down like you’re reaching into your back pockets. Pull your shoulders down and back behind you.
- Lift your chin and chest, and start to look directly overhead and then behind. Try to look further and further behind you as you exhale.
- Spend at least five breaths here, then inhale to come out.
3. Downward Facing Dog
- Come to all fours, on your hands and knees. Lift your hips and straighten your legs, keeping your hands and the balls of your feet on the ground.
- Try to push your heels toward the ground. If they touch the ground easily, move your feet back a few more inches away from your hands.
- Keep your palms flat and elbows locked (if you tend to hyperextend, then keep a small bend in the elbow).
- Keep trying to get your hips higher and your heels lower, and feel the back body open up.
- Hold anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, and repeat two to three times. (Mason suggests going into child’s pose for a few breaths in between.)
4. Crescent Lunge
- Stand with feet together, hands at the sides of the hips.
- Leaning slightly forward, step your right foot back three to four feet and land on the ball of your right foot, bending your left knee at a 90-degree angle. (Make sure your left knee doesn’t go beyond your left ankle.) Lift both hands straight up overhead.
- To increase the challenge, make the distance between your feet longer or throw in a slight backbend.
- Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Step back to the starting position and repeat on the left side. Stretch each side twice.
5. Wide-Leg Forward Fold
- Stand with feet parallel, about four feet apart. Interlock all ten fingers behind your back and try to lock your elbows.
- As you exhale, hinge at the hips to bring your forehead towards the ground. Release your hands and place them by your feet, letting your shoulders and chest begin to open.
- Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, two times. Take a break if you get lightheaded.